Thursday 24 Mar 2016
Network Rail sets out options to enable faster and more frequent journeys for the East of England
Enabling faster and more frequent services on the main lines between London Liverpool Street to Cambridge and Norwich will be a priority for Network Rail in the next decade, according to an updated study which looks at long-term plans for the railway in the east of England.
The company’s Anglia Route Study, which has been updated following public consultation, sets out a number of options for medium term from 2019 and a longer-term strategy to 2043.
It explores a number of options for the main lines between London to Norwich and Cambridge and their respective branch lines, as well as the lines from London Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness and Felixstowe to Peterborough via Ely.
Richard Schofield, Network Rail route managing director, said: “Over the next three years, we will continue to deliver our Railway Upgrade Plan to deliver better journeys for passengers. However, it is clear there is still more to do to meet future demand. We have to look at ways of running more trains, and make them faster.
“With input from a wide range of organisations, including local authorities, train operators and passenger groups, the study sets out how the railway can best meet demand and support economic growth over the next decade and beyond.
“Investment will help to deliver faster and more frequent services for passengers and help to support economic growth across the region.”
The proposals in the study are neither funded nor committed and they will be used to develop detailed plans due to be submitted to Government in 2016. The government will then publish its Final Determination on Autumn 2018, committing Network Rail to deliver the schemes selected.
Following public consultation, the final version of the study sets out how:
- Network Rail has worked closely with train operators, Stansted Airport and local authorities to further understand future growth on the rail line from London Liverpool Street to Stansted and Cambridge
- Network Rail is supportive of early investment in the line between London Liverpool Street to Stansted and Cambridge to support employment and housing growth. Options for funders are set out to improve capacity and reduce journey time.
- Network Rail reiterates its support for faster journeys between London and Norwich and also increase the frequency of train services to meet increased demand
- The study recommends that to support this aspiration a package of work is required including improved rolling stock, timetable changes, which would achieve the best improvements to journey times, as well as targeted infrastructure upgrades to increase line speeds and capacity on the line.
- The study says that any changes to level crossings to improve safety would take place in close collaboration with local authorities and after consultation with residents
- The options explored in the report include additional platforms at Liverpool Street to increase capacity, upgrading signalling technology to run more trains on the existing network, adding an additional track to Trowse Swing Bridge, installing a loop (new track) at Haughley Junction and north of Witham to separate passenger and freight services
Forecasts show that, within a decade, demand for rail travel on the Great Eastern Main Line into Liverpool Street from stations in Essex is expected to grow by 52%, with demand from stations in Suffolk and Norfolk expected to grow by 32%.
Over the same period, demand on the West Anglia Main Line, which runs from Cambridge to Liverpool Street, is expected to grow by at least 18% depending on housing growth. Forecasts show that freight demand is expected to grow by an annual average of 2.9% in the next three decades
The study also considers further doubling of the Felixstowe branch line to accommodate the forecast increase in freight services. It also looks at potential options to increase capacity on the North London Line and the line from Gospel Oak to Barking.
Among the potential options for the line from Fenchurch Street identified in the study are adding extra carriages to existing services to meet passenger demand and further upgrades at various stations to cope with increased demand.
A copy of the route study can be found here www.networkrail.co.uk/long-term-planning-process/Anglia-route-study/
During a three-month consultation, which ran from November 2014 to February 2015, more than 190 responses were received.
The study was put together by Network Rail on behalf of a joint industry group including the Department for Transport and the train operating companies on the route. None of the proposals in the study are funded.
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 36,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.